Friday, 30 June 2017

Middle Class...enough already

"Working class Americans [and Canadians] know they're working class. It's elites who want to pretend everybody is middle class" from "Sleeping Giant: How the Working Class Will Transform America" (2016) by Tamara Draut.

Perhaps we should be pleased that Canada's prime minister and other more or less populist politicians have re-discovered "class", although, of course, that is the reality we all live, for better or worse, every day. Having acknowledged this "good", however, the "bad" of today's talk about class is far worse. Instead of abolishing class division, which is in plain language a hierarchy of inequality, Trudeau and the Liberal  Party want to increase the middle class and to enrol in it the unfortunate others, re-conceived by them as "wannabemiddleclass". To the conceptual idiocy of this (Hello, Justin - there can be no middle class without the wretched excluded, now called wannabemiddleclass) Trudeau either willfully blinds himself (put your money on this option) or somehow missed it in his various life journeys (about as unlikely as him thinking he would  wind up as the primary school  teacher he once, temporarily, was). The reason for his "blindness" follows below. 

1. Power and income are different, though in class  societies closely related. The reason Trudeau wound up as prime minister, not as teacher, is that being middle class is about power, not income. And the habit of power - connections, language, style - cannot be bought; it is learned and lived from an early age. Everybody knows this, children  too (except Trudeau, it seems). Middle income auto workers are wage slaves and are not  middle class - that requires the  the authority that comes from having the power to make the big decisions in their organizations, most fundamentally the power to hire and fire.
2. To admit that income (e.g. a lottery win) will never make you middle class would amount to a recognition that middle class wannabes are fantasizing and can never achieve what they supposedly want, according to Trudeau.  That's why he can't, and won't, admit it; to do so would be to accept that this class society has winners and losers, something that makes some of the middle class uneasy. The comforting  myth of social mobility runs aground in the sea of social classes. Our sought and struggled for social economy must be based on recognition, respect and rewards for the working class, not just Trudeau's incessantly celebrated middle class peers. 



Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Ouishare opens in Paris on July 5 - Celebrate the Commons with TorontotheBetter (and the world)

If co-operativism brought democratic democratic participation to the industrial economy in the nineteenth century  then our globally connected knowledge economy  needs a new form of participation: the commons. The world has more goods than anybody could ever use but thousands starve and suffer for lack of basics like clean drinking water. Something is wrong. The only solution is to make less and give away more of what we have, to make them available to all. On July 5, join Torontothhebetter and the world in celebrating the commons economy at the global Ouishare conference:www.ouishare.net

                                            It's in Paris, but we are all  part of it. Join us.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

TorontotheBetter Welcomes the North American Indigenous Games to Toronto - July 16-23

  [Photograph courtesy of www,naigcouncil.com]
A first for Toronto and a plus for this city. so much to learn and participate in with first nations friends and neighbours.  See http://www.naigcouncil.com for details.
                                            

Advocating for minds and bodies in the Greater Toronto Peel Region - On June 21 support the new video project of the Peel Poverty Action Group

Making a video about mental health in Peel was suggested at Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) recently.
It would be something like PPAG's homeless video Spaces and Places: Uncovering Homelessness in the Region of Peel, about 15 mins, to be taken to community organizations by someone with lived experience. As currently envisaged, the video will deal with Peel issues, be made in Peel with local people, and be shown here.
Interested so far:  Andre Lyn (who worked on the homeless video), Laura Guerrero and Mayo Hawco of Bramalea Community Health Centre (BCHC), and me for PPAG.
BCHC would like to show the video to men in bars.
Any organization or individual who has ideas about a video — what issues need to be in it, how can the ideas be presented, who will take the video to audiences and speak knowledgeably about it — is invited.
Meeting to take place in the cafeteria at the Regional Building, 7120 Hurontario, (just north of Derry) at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 21.                                                                                                  
For more info call  905-826-5041 and see www.ppag.wordpress.com
For more on poverty in Peel see this video: 





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Friday, 16 June 2017

Tool Libraries pave the Way to a New Economy - report from the Toronto Lending Library Symposium

Library, (tool and others) representatives from around the world came to Toronto on Saturday June 11. And for all the differences between Honolulu Hawaii, Edinburgh Scotland, Kitchener Ontario, Oregon, U.S., Hanover Germany and our very own Toronto they spoke with one voice: the library is an economic tool that more and more see and use as a solution for tough economic times. Why? In a planet that is rapidly being exhausted loaning what we have int the lending library is a way to conserve the environment when owning more stuff does not. More and more young people get it and are talking about minimalism, a rejection of consumer spending that suits their limited pocket books and their millennial environmental awareness. TorontotheBetter salutes this planetary advance guard.  Is consumerism dead? No. But it's on its death legs. We wish it a speedy end.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

What's Pizza Got to Do With IT? - sports stars and endorsements












PLUS

 













= ???


There was a time when star professional athletes had a short life and few. or no, guaranteed earnings when they had to stop playing. With million dollar contracts commonplace for elite sportspeople it aint so now. So why are athletes like Lebron James, who would never lack for food even if he never got another paycheque, hustling things like pizza (Blaze Pizza), or, as in a previous sponsorship, hamburger (for McDonalds). Unlikely hamburger or pizza were the recommended healthy food for a long athletic life. Why compound your money slavery when you're already thoroughly enslaved to the sport? Sure there are the foundations some have set up, but which tail is waging which dog here? And why?       

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

New economy activists - please join us at Toronto's June 9 Lending Library Symposium

TorontotheBetter welcomes other activist library organizations engaged in our struggle for a new economy that works for all. For details see http://torontosymposium2017.weebly.com.

Congrats to the Toronto Tool Library and their IRBE partners contributing to loanership in Toronto